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Chapter 13 Social Cognition and Moral Development

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1 Chapter 13 Social Cognition and Moral Development

2 Chapter 13: Social Cognition and Moral Development
Social cognition: ability to understand psychological differences in others Adopt other’s perspectives Theory of Mind: False Belief Task Where will Sally look for marble when she returns? (See next slide) Used to predict and explain human behavior before 4 yrs of age “he wanted to. . .” “he intended to. .”

3 Figure The experimental arrangement in the false belief task involving Sally and Anne. As Sally does not know that Anne transferred Sally’s marble from Sally’s basket to Anne’s box, she falsely believes it is in her basket, and the child who has a theory of mind should say that she will look for it there. Figure 13.1

4 Developing a Theory of Mind
Attentive parents Joint attention Pretend play Imitation Social experiences Talking about mental states Sensitivity to feelings of others

5 Nature and Nurture Nature: Theory of mind proved adaptive Functioning in a social group Gain resources and survive Bargaining, conflict resolution, cooperation Nurture: Acquiring language and interaction Having siblings, sensitive parents Using mental states to explain behavior “How do you think she felt?”

6 Person Perception Psychological traits observed Used to explain behavior By about age 7 or 8 Understanding personality Through adolescence Used to evaluate others

7 Role-Taking Skills The ability to adopt another’s perspective Moving away from egocentrism Essential in thinking about moral issues Beginning of empathy – about age 2 3-6 yr olds – egocentric 12+ - multiple perspectives Socially isolated older adults decline related to processing speed

8 Perspectives on Moral Development
Three components of morality 1) Cognitive: Distinguish right from wrong 2) Behavioral: Act accordingly (Prosocial) 3) Affective: Feel pride and guilt or shame Empathy: a vicarious experience Most are motivated to avoid negative emotions

9 Psychoanalytic Theory
Superego: conscience Oedipus Complex Internalization of parental morals Emotion important in morality Responsive parenting important Gender differences unsupported

10 Cognitive-Developmental Theory
Piaget’s views Premoral Period: not moral beings Heteronomous Morality: ages 6-10 Believe in rules from parents Consequences/amount of damage Autonomous: at ages10-11 Rules are agreements – not absolutes Intention more important than consequences

11 Kohlberg: Reasoning about Moral Dilemmas
Preconventional: egocentric Punishment and obedience Instrumental hedonism Conventional: consideration of others Good boy/girl morality Authority/social order maintaining Postconventional: consideration of all Morality of contract Individual principles of conscience


13 Social Learning Theory
Moral Behavior (Bandura) Cognitive self-regulation Anticipation, apply consequences to self Moral disengagement No self condemnation for immoral acts Situational context important

14 Early Moral Training Children internalize moral standards By mo. learn through experiences to: 1) Associate negative emotions with violating rules Positive relationship w/parent important 2) Exert self-control when tempted Prosocial behavior by age 2 (and earlier) Punishment must always be accompanied by an explanation

15 Intentions and Rules: Research
Piaget: consequences vs. intentions Nelson: 3 yr. olds can judge intention Theory of mind: “I didn’t mean it!” Piaget: questioning rules Turiel: moral rules by age 2 1/2 Adult rules often questioned

16 Raising Moral Children
Social Learning Theory R+ moral behavior Punish immoral behavior Model moral behavior Hoffman: Three Approaches to Discipline Love withdrawal: negative effects Power assertion: moral immaturity Induction: related to moral maturity

17 Temperament and Moral Development
Fearful, inhibited children Become more fearful when reprimanded Use gentle discipline Fearless, uninhibited children Relationship with parent important “Goodness of fit” What works for one child may not for another

18 The Adolescent Changes in moral reasoning Shift to conventional reasoning Identity includes moral and values Two kinds of antisocial youth 1) Temporary in adolescence 2) Chronic/seriously aggressive Less empathy for distress of others Little remorse for criminal behavior


20 Dodge’s Social Information-Processing Model
Individual’s reaction to frustration, anger Not simply social cues Deficient information processing For most, accuracy improves with age Aggressive kids show a bias toward attributing hostile intent/motive Also choose aggressive response Rejection, abuse in upbringing


22 Patterson’s Coercive Family Environments
Ineffective parenting in childhood Family members in power struggle Try to control each other coercively Threatening, hitting, even abuse Unpleasant aggressive child Performs poorly in school Disliked by other children Chooses aggressive peer group

23 Nature-Nurture Inherit predisposition for aggression Behavior evokes coercive parenting Parenting strengthens aggression Less opportunity to learn emotional control Exposure to violence in society Lower SES: violence to solve problems Both bullies and victims of bullies more likely to behave violently

24 The Adult Postconventional reasoning is possible Stable through about age 75 Important moral lessons learned in life Spirituality: search for meaning in life Evident among reflective adults Religion: Little change even in old age

25 Advanced Moral Reasoning
Necessary cognitive skills Perspective-taking Formal operations Social learning experiences Interactions with parents Discussions with peers Higher education Democracy

26 Kohlberg in Perspective
Sequence supported Devalued parental influence not supported Emphasis on peer contributions supported Cultural bias Liberal bias Gender bias not supported

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